Three Enchanted Evenings | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

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Three Enchanted Evenings

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When Across a Crowded Room--a roundup of music by Richard Rodgers--played in Chicago last summer, Reader critic Neil Tesser noted a paradox that made the show especially welcome: Rodgers's versatility contributed to his relative obscurity. His centennial last year spurred new interest in the composer, but before that he "seldom topped anyone's list in discussions of the great 20th-century songwriters," Tesser wrote, in spite of having written more than 900 songs, including "several dozen of the best-loved tunes in the American popular repertoire." According to Tesser, Rodgers "created so many wildly different melodies, each nearly perfect in its own way ('My Funny Valentine,' 'Oklahoma,' 'It Might as Well Be Spring,' 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain,' 'The Sweetest Sounds'), that it's hard to think of them all as the output of one man." Performers in Across a Crowded Room include San Francisco-based singer Cory Jamison, vocalist Tom Michael, musical director Dan Stetzel, and Naperville's Joan Curto, a longtime member of Wheaton Drama, a volunteer-run community theater. Curto is responsible for bringing the well-received show to Wheaton Drama's Playhouse 111 for three benefit performances this weekend. Proceeds will go toward enlarging the company's 100-seat house in a former bank building. Across a Crowded Room runs Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 14, at 8 and Sunday, June 15, at 7 at 111 N. Hale in Wheaton. Tickets are $25; call 630-260-1820.

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